14 02 2015

If you are married, may I ask you a question? I know, I already just did- but I want to ask you a question that has to do with your present relationship. I want to ask you which one of you said, “I Love You” first? Was it you or your spouse? And when you finally drummed up enough nerve and courage to pronounce that magical sentence, did you receive a response right away? Now I don’t mean receiving return replies such as, “Of course you do!” or “That’s nice, can you please pass the ketchup!” When we say, “I Love You,” to another- we all want to hear “I Love You” back. There is nothing more uncomfortable than to put yourself out there emotionally only to hear nothing but crickets! If ever there was a moment that silence is far from golden, it is then!

I remember quite vividly the first time I told my wife Terri that I loved her. Now I want you to know that I didn’t pass out that sentence quite easily or often. I weighed heavily the commitment that came along with that declaration of the heart! But I knew I was ready and one magical night when we were all alone, I looked deeply into my then girlfriend’s eyes and exclaimed loaded with my usual passion and enthusiasm, “I love you Theresa!” And then in expectant and nervous anticipation, I waited and waited and waited and did I mention I waited? Nothing! As Terri has done many times through the years as I go about being unpredictable- she just stared at me!

Wow, what was I going to do now? Should I take it back? Would I backtrack and explain that I was just kidding? No, I made the first move and stuck by my guns and expressed my heart even though Terri was not ready to reciprocate! And time marched on. One week came and went and I would say, “I love you” and she would smile. Another week was swept into history and seven more days of the sounds of silence. It took almost a month before Terri finally bounded up to me and after I went to watch one of her basketball games- she grabbed my hand and whispered into my ear, “I love you Rudy!” And believe it or not, I was walking on air and I never thought I could be so free. Flying away on a wing and prayer- who could it truly be now? Terri does love me!

Did you know that in our interaction and relationship with God- he reaches out to us before we ever even consider returning the favor? God doesn’t wait for us to finally come to our senses and go running into his arms to pour out our heart and soul before him. Without pride or hesitation, the Lord lavishes his love upon us in a constant supply that never runs out or sees the well go dry! 1 John 4:19 plainly teaches us that, “We love because he first loved us.” In Romans 5:8 Paul adds that “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Our Heavenly Father doesn’t sit around in Glory waiting for us to clean up our act enough so we will eventually show up before him smelling like roses and expounding upon the many ways we are hopelessly devoted to Heaven. He knows that this moment would never occur without his initiating the partnership.

The Father initiated the choice to love us when we were not very attractive! 1 John 3:1 shares “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” The Son of God, Jesus, implemented the possibility for us to get it together by paying the price that we could not pay so that our sins would be forgiven and the gap between us and God demolished! The good news that John shared with us in Chapter 3:16-18 in his gospel informs us, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” This love comes alive in our deepest being because the Holy Spirit empowers us to be able to personally taste of this purest unconditional affection and receive it not just academically but practically and eternally. Again Paul instructs us in Romans 5:5 “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” The Father initiates, the Son implements and the Spirit empowers so that we the people can join in the supernatural banqueting table where the banner over our wedding feast is a love that will never let us go. It can all be ours if we will only surrender to the Giver of all good things! God has already communicated his intentions towards us. How will we respond? Will we foolishly refuse to be enveloped in such a manner of grace because our pride prompts us to play hard to get? I hope not!

So look into the eyes of love and learn who you really are! In the eyes of the world, we are always wondering where we stand. Our identity on earth is always up for grabs as today you may be the most popular person in town but tomorrow you may be called a loser just wasting his or her time! But according to the Creator, you have been loved, forgiven, redeemed, transformed, made holy and eternally promised a place in the palm of God’s hands! God hasn’t changed his mind. He is still singing that romantic tune with you as the object of such a tremendous truth. God has already told you how he feels about you! How will you respond? Heaven shouts, “I love you.” What say you?



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